- Name: Emmanuelle Archer
- Occupation: Expat Coach
- Current Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
- Originally From: France
- Expat Locations: Canada, Benelux, Sweden & the Middle East
- Website: www.winningaway.com/blog
- Twitter: twitter.com/emmanuelle_a
How did you become an expat, and why?
It all started in 1999: after reading in yet another magazine that Vancouver was the #1 Most Liveable City in the World, I decided to spend my summer vacation there.
It was love at first sight. I knew that I had found my dream place and that this was where I was meant to live.
I took a second trip here in winter to make sure I still liked Vancouver under greyer skies, then I applied for my Permanent Resident visa. I relocated to Canada in 2001 and never looked back. Best decision I have ever made!
Where else have you been an expat?
In a way, I feel like I have been an expat for most of my life. Maybe it is because I grew up as a bi-cultural child in a Franco-Belgian family, but France never completely felt like home (even though I do love the country). It is as if my home had been waiting for me here in Canada the whole time.
I started developing very strong affinities with certain cultures and countries as a teenager. Once I was able to set out on my own, my wanderlust took me to the Benelux, Sweden and the Middle East before I finally settled in Vancouver.
In each case, my main motivation was a passion for exploring and experiencing new places.
Best piece of expat advice you’ve received?
I doubt that G.K. Chesterton wrote these lines specifically with expats in mind, but they are spot on nonetheless: “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.“
Best piece of expat advice you’d give?
I would advise expats to pay as much attention to their mindset as they do to the logistics of moving overseas. The emotional and motivational challenges of living abroad are what will ultimately impact your happiness as an expat, much more than your ability to land the perfect job or find the perfect house.
In addition to cultural awareness, a strong support system and the ability to acknowledge your feelings (rather than try to fight them) are major assets for a successful expatriation.
Favorite expat related web sites?
Are you planning or dreaming of a move? Are you going home instead? Where to and why?
I am staying put for the foreseeable future! I would love to start traveling again soon, but Vancouver is definitely my permanent home base now.
Tell us more about what you do in your location?
Vancouverites are both outdoorsy and very much into personal growth. Since I moved here, I have taken up a number of new activities, such as kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, meditation and yoga. The natural beauty of this place also inspired me to explore my artistic side through painting and calligraphy, something that I had never tried before coming here.
Work-wise, I started my own business in 2008, after 11 years in corporate management and marketing. I help expats, diplomats and accompanying partners live their life abroad to the fullest. I focus on the emotional and motivational aspects of expatriation, through a combination of consulting, coaching and blogging at www.winningaway.com/blog
Would you recommend your current location to other expats? Does it rock or does it suck?
(Photo credit: Tommy Au Photo)
By now you can probably tell that I am still madly in love with Vancouver, almost eight years after moving here!
I would definitely recommend Vancouver to any expat looking for the amenities of big city life in a stunning natural setting, with a wide range of recreational and outdoor activities within easy reach. [Now do I sound like the local Tourism Bureau, or what?]
One caveat though: there are few corporate headquarters here, which means fewer job opportunities at middle- and upper-management levels. The business culture is also fairly laid-back and working long hours does not seem to be the norm. All of this could prove frustrating to more career-oriented individuals, for whom Toronto or Calgary might be a better fit.
What is the expat community like where you are?
Vancouver is a city of immigrants and its expat community is very diverse.
You can hear all sorts of languages spoken in the streets and there is a wealth of ethnic restaurants, cultural societies and newcomers’ clubs. It should not be too hard to sate a craving for familiar foods, or to find people who speak your mother tongue.
Most expats I meet choose to actively make Canadian friends and adopt the local lifestyle, instead of sticking to their own community. So many of us are “from somewhere else” anyway, it makes sense to embrace the cosmopolitan vibes of the city!
Anything you’d like to add?
I love connecting with other expats, so if you have a question you think I can help with, or if you just want to say hello, do not hesitate to contact me on Twitter or through my blog. And if you happen to live in BC, I would love to meet you!
Thank you, Emmanuelle for participating in our Expat Spotlight! We wish you success and happiness in your current location, and wherever your dreams and business endeavors take you.